A mortgage offer on your smartphone – in 45 minutes

Mobile Banking
Digital banking is becoming the battleground for lenders. PHOTO/FILE
Equity Bank customers will soon be able to apply for mortgages using their smartphones in less than 15 minutes, as the lender moves to digitise and streamline its asset finance process.

Following the success of Equity’s mobile platform, Equitel, which currently disburses loans of up to Sh3 million, the bank says it will use the service to process mortgages and asset-backed loans in a bid to grow its loan book.

According to the group chief executive James Mwangi, the loan appraisal will be automated with confirmation and valuation of the asset – which require human action – being the final steps.

“We will process the loan and then invite the customer to come and close it by providing security,” Mr Mwangi said.

The technology, which will be a first in Kenya’s mortgage sector, is gaining currency in developed countries where customers spend about 30 minutes engaging with a bank’s mobile app to obtain a mortgage offer, after which they scan and email documents to the lender for identification and verification.

The digitisation of Equity Bank’s asset finance comes at a time when mobile banking is becoming the battleground for lenders as most of them have partnered with Equity’s rival M-Pesa to offer mobile loans.

Equitel, which has 2.5 million subscribers, processes an average of 300,000 loans a month – equivalent to eighty four per cent of loans disbursed by Equity Bank.

The platform had processed a total of 5.3 million loans valued at Sh30 billion at the end of September since its launch a year earlier.

Equity Bank recently said that Equitel controls 15 per cent of the local mobile money transfer market, which transacted Sh956 billion in the first half of the year.